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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS – MARKING YOUR CARD ON MANCHESTER

Posted on: 23 Nov 2018

Heffron v Williams

By Frank Warren

SUCH IS THE quality of the card we have put together in support of the IBF world featherweight title encounter between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton, it will be a case of take your pick when it comes to nominating which one will end up being fight of the night.

Josh and Carl putting it all on the line at the Manchester Arena on December 22 is an enticing enough prospect on its own, but our support cast is full of top operators and really does take some beating.

Over the last few days we have confirmed that our outstanding middleweight Mark Heffron still gets to fight for the British title, but in a fight that really has got tongues wagging in excited anticipation throughout the boxing business.

Mark goes in against Liam Williams, who had no hesitation in stepping up from light middleweight once his scheduled fight against JJ Metcalf fell through due to injury.

We know what we’re going to get with this one and credit to both fighters for accepting it so readily. These two are actually excited over the prospect of being pushed to the limit by a top opponent. It is the sort of fight that presses both their buttons and we are in for a real treat from two proper fighters.

The same can be said for Martin Murray, who is only interested in fights that will test his undoubted resolve and improve his standing. He will get that from former world champion Hassan N’Dam, who has operated at the top level for a considerable time now and been involved in some fantastic fights.

Martin is one who could sit tight and await a world title mandatory spot, given his ranking, but that is not what he is about and, as a result of this, we have another tasty scrap on our hands.

Michael Conlan will also experience something different when he steps into a ring in England for the first time as a professional. Yes, you would expect a prospect of his calibre to win against Jason Cunningham, but what you do know is that the former Commonwealth champion will be in there giving his all and looking to cause a huge upset on a massive stage.

Our top young heavy Nathan Gorman gets the opportunity to demonstrate that he is a real deal in the division when he steps up to face the challenge of former world title challenger Alex Leapai.

The Queenslander has been around the block a few times and is the ideal test for Nathan at this point. Nathan’s domestic rival, Daniel Dubois, takes centre stage at Brentwood the week before and Ricky Hatton’s star pupil won’t want to surrender the spotlight to the Peacock Gym protégé for too long.

This is a genuine fight card that compares favourably with anything that has been delivered via a Box Office platform in recent years and one where you know what you are going to get – proper meaningful fights between evenly matched, ambitious fighters on the up who are looking to progress their careers.

Those at the Manchester Arena or watching via BT Box Office will more than get their money’s worth and that is the way it should be.

ANOTHER MEMORABLE NIGHT was had by all at the annual Nordoff Robbins boxing event held at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on Monday evening.

Nordoff Robbins

It is an event and cause we have proudly supported and provided the fight card for many years now and it is one that goes from strength to strength each year.

Nordoff Robbins is an independent music therapy charity dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people. This year’s boxing dinner raised in the region of £120,000 for the charity to be able to continue its fine work.

On the fighting front, there were impressive performances from Craig Evans – who defeated Boy Jones Jr to regain the WBO European lightweight title – along with young prospects Willie Hutchinson and Denzel Bentley, who both have a big future ahead of them.

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